Bitwise

Kerry Klein

It’s Sunday morning in downtown Fresno, and a classroom full of 10-year olds is about to meet an important visitor: a 2-foot-tall, red and white robot.

“Hello, my name is NAO,” says the robot, standing up on a table.

He looks like a mix between a Transformer and a Power Ranger: big head, square shoulders, and what looks like thick gloves and boots. He can wave his arms, walk, dance, and blink his eyes—just like a tiny human.

“I can recognize your face, answer questions, and even play soccer like a pro,” he continues.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

When you think of California’s major technology centers, you probably think of Silicon Valley, or maybe even San Diego, but Fresno probably isn’t at the top of your list.  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This is the second story in a two part series by Ezra David Romero about what some are calling a tech boom in Central California. In this story we talk Fresno, in the first piece we explore Google, drones and Merced

Downtown Fresno is just 163 miles from Mountain View, the heart of Silicon Valley and the home of tech giant Google, but in many ways it's a world away. But while the San Joaquin Valley may be known more for its produce than its programmers a local competition has been working for the past five years to change that.